TO GARAGE OR NOT TO GARAGE

Pru Sowers…..one of Key West’s finest newspaper writers.

She reports in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast re the on and off Greene Street garage proposal. The title of her article similar to Hamlet’s soliloquy…..To be or not to be. Pru’s….. To garage or not to garage.

The article a reflection (from my perspective) of the City Commission’s disarray.

Parking a recognized problem. Two new parking garages bandied around since 2011. One on Greene Street. The City Commission in its divine wisdom voted unanimously in September no garage on Greene Street.

Not a group to let sleeping dogs lie, the City Commission voted to reexamine the issue on November 15 by a 5-2 vote. The vote does not signify that the garage will pass. It is thought most who voted to reexamine will subsequently vote against the garage.

So why waste time looking at the issue again? To accommodate the desire of Commissioner Richard Payne. A retired Florida State Judge. He has a tendency to screw things up.

Kate Miano is one of Key West’s leading citizens. Owner of the highly successful Gardens. The Gardens is across the street from the relatively new public parking lot behind the new City Hall.

Kate walks her dog three times a day by the parking lot. Pru’s article reports Kate’s comment that the lot is never full. I can attest to that. I park there almost daily. Only twice in a year was there not a parking spot.

Kate went a step further. She walked over to the City Parking Department and asked questions. She learned that in the year running from October 2015 to October 2016, parking lot revenue was down. Fell 18.7 percent from the previous year.

Key West needs parking. Desperately. Not a garage on Greene Street, however. Part of the parking problem would be relieved if the City Commission voted to allow Uber and Lyft to operate. Difficult. The Bubba system stands in the way.

Dinner last night with Liz and her house guest J. Richard Hunt. An enjoyable evening. Liz an excellent cook.

I learned that being the Dean of a law school has become a business in itself. Liz was Dean of two. Richard, one better. Of three.

It is cold this morning. Second day in a row. Cold is 70-74 degrees. Yes, such is cold in Key West. I am wearing a sweat shirt as I write.

My home town Utica in upstate New York is experiencing big time snow the past 24 hours,. More today. Already 12-15 inches. Temperature in the low 20s. Chill factor even lower.

One thing I have learned living in Key West these many years. when it is cold cold up north, it is cold in Key West.

Installment 19 of Key West Rotary history.

Disaster strikes. Sometimes we do not appreciate the practical impacts.

The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was a 5. Blew out many Flagler railroad bridges. Parts of the highway gone. People could not get back and forth to the mainland. Miami not accessible. Ferries could not operate. Mail significantly reduced. Food prices shot up, where food was available. The law of supply and demand.

The Key West Rotary’s Annual Report issued January 1, 1936, stated the greatest community need was the reestablishment of adequate transportation facilities with the mainland. Noted specifically that parts of the railroad and highway were destroyed by the hurricane.

At the January board meeting, the Club took several steps.

First, the financing of a delegation to Cuba. Interesting why. To obtain the assistance of Cuban government and commercial agencies in having the railroad rebuilt.

I could not determine if the delegation ever went and what, if any, was its success.

The board formed a special committee to correspond with U.S. agencies directly or indirectly concerned with the problems caused by the hurricane.

The February 17, 1936 board meeting centered on air mail and passenger service. The need to improve them. Without the railroad, highway or ability of the ferries to operate, airplanes were the only thing left.

Passenger planes only carried four passengers. More seats on the planes required.

Mail service next to non existent. The suggestion was the airplanes be used to carry first class mail.

The lack of bus transportation a concern.

Key West had become isolated.

The March board meeting noted some progress. The highway had been cleared. Bus transportation began in late February. No vehicular traffic, however.

Letters of support, etc. had been received from Postmaster Farley and Florida’s two federal senators.

Bascom Grooms was outspoken at the meeting. He convinced  the Club to support the conversion of the railroad bridges to handle vehicular traffic.

Enjoy your day!

One comment on “TO GARAGE OR NOT TO GARAGE

  1. Louis, with KW left in isolation after the big Labor Day 1935 hurricane, do you think there was a lot of inbreeding going on down there then? I saw that on the little island of St Barts when I was jumping islands in 1975.

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